Category Archives: Reloading

Where is the Ammo? Where is the Powder? Where are the…

It’s hard to believe that it has officially been one year since the ammunition and hand sanitizer industries felt the pressure of a world flipped upside down.  Several factors have driven the shooting and reloading world into an extremely slim inventory crisis and we thought you’d like to hear from several of our friends in the industry and the challenges that they have faced.

Jason Hornady of Hornady Manufacturing Company

Jason Vanderbrink of Vista Outdoors (Federal Cartridge) 1

Jason Vanderbrink of Vista Outdoors (Federal Cartridge) 2 – an update

John Nosler of Nosler Bullets (with Colin Noir)

Hodgdon Powder

Here is a link to the .pdf that was released by Hodgdon Powder, but our friend at AccurateShooter.com did a great job of adding a bit more information to help you:

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2021/02/hodgdon-powder-update-why-are-there-shortages/

RELOADERS CORNER: Salvage

You’re stuck with a lot of loser loads. Now what? READ MORE

Glen Zediker

Last time I threw out a circumstance where, during the will and want to deliver high-volume output a mistake was made and the result is that you’re left with honking pot full of substandard ammo. We talked about what might have gone wrong, but probably the worst is there’s something that’s created a load too hot. Too much pressure. There are other dimensional issues as well that might prevent graceful reuse. But, for the most part, unless the load produced is well over pressure, I’d be looking to send them downrange. Cut my losses, get the cases back, start over.

Directional miscues are pretty clearly decided on how to overome. Bullets out too far? Seat them deeper. It’s not going to be so little that there won’t be some influence, but not enough to escalate pressures.

I can’t say “how much” overpressure is safe to shoot, but can tell you that it’s likely to be a good deal more than you might think. Now, this doesn’t have to do accuracy or manners, just safety. That’s also not a recommendation from me to willingly ignore your own instincts. There’s varying of degrees or levels of abuse to be enured.

Digging all the way out from under this problem is also liable to require the use of specialty tooling, something like, dare I say, a bullet puller. One of these will salvage both propellant and bullet, and give the opportunity to crank right back up and a have another go at it. I have shot a plenty of pulled bullets and into very small shot groups. It was once popular among mil-spec-type target shooters to break down M193, replace the 55 gr. with a commercial 52, 53, or 55 match bullet and head to the firing line. Groups would be about 60-percent smaller. Right, just pull them and replace them. No extra sizing, no nothing.

Forster is my first choice for a bullet puller because it’s simple an fast, and because it allows the reuse of a bullet. It’s tedious, but way on better than the headache created by a kinetic type puller.

Back to the start: preparation prevents problems, as long as paying attention is involved! Taking time to make notes and run a checklist helps keep race cars on the track and airplanes in the air, and handloading ammunition safe. Take the time.

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in Glen’s Top-Grade Ammo. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads. Also, check out our new lineup of eBOOKS!

RELOADERS CORNER: more mistakes over more time, now what?

In doing higher-volume loading, one fear is “what if” and that refers to having made a mistake… READ MORE

errors
Not much worse than a bunch of newly loaded rounds tainted by potentially problematic imperfections. I’ve had more of these with pistols than rifles. Not sure why…

Glen Zediker

So you’ve put, say, 500 rounds together and there’s a flaw, and this may (usually always) be constant and consistant throughout. Or, maybe something changed during, someting shifted, at some point from then at the start to now at the end.

This can happen, and you’re fortunate indeed if you have no stories to share.

Before getting far into what it was and what was the influence or effect we’re now facing, this next will suggest a few things to check beforehand to head it off.

I don’t know that I’ve ever read much on handloading that didn’t come with at least a few ideas on checks, checkpoints. One of the first I propellant dispensing. Using a meter for these loads, throwing charges, there’s a question about how often to stop and run a check on your volume progress against the consistency of each charge thrown into each case.

Advice I’ve seen varies and ranges from the way too often to the every now and again. Folks, honestly, I never check or double check once I’m underway. I am also using expensive meters with Culver inserts. These I have proven to meter more accurately than my scale can determine. The level of effort and attention that went into my being able to make that statement is another article, and, along the way, will be. But, if you’re not using a Culver, it is a wise investment in a minute to throw a charge or two, weigh each, and satisfying the self that all’s well. If you see a problem, if your meter won’t hold a setting, that is a huge red-flag that needs fixed.

mistakes
A truly good meter takes worries about case to case weight consistency away. Get one!

I always start a session checking propellant dispensing weight. I do this more to satisfy that tiny tickle of paranoid uncertaintly than I do for any tangible reason, but we do a lot of things to fix those tickles (like look both ways before crossing a one-way street). Well. I do. I click-dial my meter to where my notes say it should be (and do the same to the other Culver-equipped meters that might be involved in this session), then throw charges with each and see the right weight from each (I usually through 4-5 at a time, weigh the pan, and divide by however many throws are in the pan). Sometimes I think I do this more to just satisfy myself respecting how good this system is.

Next I essentially check die “tightness” by confirming that the sized case dimentions are what they should me. And then also do the same for bullet seating depth.

A few tricks here come from a treat like a good turret-head press. After getting the dies adjusted to what you want for a load (this load), snugging them down and adding index marks means that, one, no there should be no movement between uses, and, also, it will be easily seen becaues of the marks. Index marks are no more complex than a paint-marker-line from die body, to lock ring, to press top. I index the sizing and seating adjustments at the top of the die also.

The fewer times anything is loosened, moved, tightened the radically greater chance it has to stay perfectly in place.

Next I triple check the bullet seating depth. By the way, I’ve also become convinced that the more initial checks made reduce any chance for an erroneous check. I look once, then again, and then again, and by then I sho should have seen all there is to see. I might overlook something, though, if I look only once, and I have done that before setting seating depths.

mistakes
I triple check seating depth before starting long loading session.

The best trick I can tell you to keep tools lined up where they should be, when they have to be moved, is to handle a threaded die ONLY BY ITS LOCKING RING! Never, ever hold on the die body to thread the piece in and out the press top. Handled only by the ring, there’s no chance of movement (well, assuming that the ring was snugged in place as it should have been).

mistakes
Use index lines to easly see if anything changed (moved). And handle dies only using the lock ring!

Next time we’ll look at a few things that might have gone wrong, and see about getting them fixed, or worked around.

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in Glen’s Top-Grade Ammo. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads. Also, check out our new new lineup of eBOOKS!

Proper Ammunition Storage

If you are hoarding or only keeping what you need on hand don’t let your investment rust away. READ MORE

ammo storage
Fiocchi’s 80 rounds in a can is possibly the best combination of 12 gauge buckshot and easy storage.

Heyward Williams

Storing ammunition is at least as important as properly storing your firearms. After all, the firearm is no better than a stick or a club without ammunition. While many of us like to have an adequate supply of ammunition for a SHTF situation this isn’t my primary motivation. I am more concerned with an adequate supply of ammunition for training and recreation than for possible use in a societal break down. I have had to curtail my personal training and firearms classes during shortages because I simply could not obtain enough ammunition. There was considerable price gouging at times and I no longer patronize those outlets. Finding twenty nine boxes of ammunition when you really need fifty is discouraging. (Fifty students, fifty rounds each, every class for months is a lot ammunition.) Conversely I walked into Academy Sports a few months ago and saw several pallets of Winchester 9mm ball for $6.99 per fifty cartridges. I estimated 20,000 rounds on the floor. The shortage, it appeared, was over. Now it is back. These things run in cycles — even if the current shortage is short lived, we may see another shortage, particularly around election time.

ammo storage
These boxes are arranged in order of caliber — .45 Colt, .45 ACP.

What are your needs?
I don’t hoard things for their own sake. I like to have a few months supply of the ammunition I really need on hand. When I taught handgun marksmanship and tactical movement students seemed never to bring enough ammunition and others brought gun and ammunition combinations that were not proofed and they malfunctioned. I have learned quite a bit about ammunition storage. As an example I have handloaded my handgun ammunition for more than forty years and cannot recall a misfire cartridge due to storage issues. Ammunition isn’t quite in the category with silver and gold but may be more precious and useful if you need it. It is expensive enough that you should respect the investment and take steps to store it properly. This is more important the greater the amount of ammunition you store. Some like to burn up their ammunition on the weekend and call on Monday and replace it. That’s fine, a minimal inventory works for some of us. I am not comfortable with that program. Buying in bulk and keeping ahead on the ammunition supply is important.

ammo storage
Some ammunition is stored in the original box, and others for more long term storage in the original bulk packing box.

I don’t know if we will face a societal upheaval and you will need that ammunition. I certainly hope not. But if you are in a bad situation the ammunition you have expended in training is the single greatest predictor of survival. My goal for ammunition storage is have a good supply for practice, hunting, and personal defense use as well as training family members. This demands the ammunition be stored properly. I store ammunition in the original box. Sometimes I simply put it on the shelf in the shipping box it arrived in. (Online is so easy!) Unless I am certain I am going to the range the next day or so I never open the boxes and pour the contents into a metal can. Sure, having those 500 9mms in an ammo can is cool enough but they are far more subject to damage from handling and the elements. Also, in the event that you trade one firearm and caliber for another, it isn’t usually possible to trade ammunition as well unless it is in the original box. For most of us, purchasing large quantities of ammunition — a case of five hundred to one thousand cartridges — and storing it properly is important.

ammo storage
Handloads should be plainly marked when in storage.

Ammunition Longevity
I have fired ammunition more than one hundred years old with good results. During my police career I saw ammunition improperly stored in cruiser trunks and in the basement of the PD that became corroded and useless in a few months. Storage is everything for shelf life. Ammunition manufactured since World War One or so was designed to last for centuries. Winchester was given a military contract in 1916 based on one bad primer in 100,000 — and the standard is higher today. I would never purchase older ammunition save as a lark or to feed some non critical use antique. I don’t trust surplus ammunition — there are too many storage and quality issues. Not to mention corrosive primers. Purchasing good quality ammunition means it will last much longer. Quality case mouth seal and primer seal is important for both storage and critical use. My handloads do not have this seal but as I mentioned I have not had misfires, because I store ammo properly. The keys are cool, dry and dark. Cool not cold. A closet in the home is ideal. Stack the original boxes on shelves, on the floor, or in a large MTM plastic box. Heat itself isn’t that destructive in normal ranges but it may cause humidity and condensation. We have all had our glasses or cameras fog up when moving from an air conditioned home to a hot back yard. You don’t want your ammunition supply to be subjected to these highs and lows. Moisture will attack gun powder. In my experience far more failures to fire are related to powder contamination than primer failure. (Don’t store solvents and cleaning compounds with ammunition!) In some instances the cartridge case may even become corroded. This is dangerous as they may lose some of their integrity. Just remember that moisture and humidity are the enemy. Normal fluctuations in household temperatures are okay. I would avoid extremes such as basement storage or storage in the attic. This is especially important with lead bullet loads. Many of them — and some jacketed loads — feature a lubricant on the bullet, in grease grooves. This grease will melt out of the grooves into the powder if the ammunition becomes too hot.

ammo storage
Don’t store ammunition in close proximity with chemicals or cleaning supplies.

Get in Order
Getting the ammunition in the proper order is important. I fire mostly 9mm and .45 ACP handguns. I also use the .223 and .308 rifle. The 12 gauge shotgun is my to go gun. We all need a .22 — then there is the .357 Magnum and the .45 Auto Rim and .45 Colt — so organization is important. Two thousand .45 ACP cartridges are on hand tonight and one hundred .45 Auto Rim, and that’s plenty. I keep handgun ammunition separated by training and service loads. Shotgun shells are more difficult to store and I do not have nearly as many. They are in one corner of the designated closet. My home is one hundred fifteen years old the ammunition storage was once a food larder. Works for me.

ammo storage
This MTM case guard carrier is a good option for smaller quantities of ammunition. MTM also offers much larger boxes that have much utility.

Other points — I keep firearms in a safe. While a couple may be loaded for various reasons I do not normally store ammunition in the safe. Some like to have an ammunition supply in loaded magazines. That’s okay if they are stored properly. Take these magazines, fire them in practice, and rotate the supply. If loaded down from 30 to 26 or 20 to 18 rounds quality AR 15 magazines will run forever. Pistol magazines from MecGar are much the same. Glock magazines loaded to full capacity never give trouble. If you need a stack of magazines loaded at the ready for emergency your zip code is probably written in Cyrillic or located abound Bosnia. These tips, points and cautions will work well for most of us and keep the ammunition supply fresh and uncontaminated.

ammo storage
The author doesn’t store loaded magazines unless a range trip is immediate.

RELOADERS CORNER: Lockdown continues. So do we.

Be proud of all yourselves. MORE

Glen Zedikercorona

Due to range issues (not all, evidently, see themseves as “essential”) and general isolation this edition’s Reloaders Corner won’t be standard — no topic that can be handled and settled in a few hundred words. Like most folks, I guesss, I’ve kind of been thrown into pensive mode, and, mostly, find myself reacting to the daily challenges of this virus.

I also know I’m edging over into topics that have an end-of-year feel to them. And here it is not even really Summer. Reason for that is, know it or not, we’ve seen some big changes in our industry, supply side and consumer side. Anyone who’s tried to order and got put on the “be patient” list knows that. We’ve seen changes in shipping schedules, and there have been others in the logistics of promotion. We have survived. We are, from my side of my contribution to our industry, likely to see some changes that are staying around. Right here are Midouth we’re making some focus and topic-content changes in the Blog driven by some of the needs we experienced.

We’re also daggone tired of this daggone virus. Keep, however, firmly in mind that it can and will and has killed us deader than a hammer. When it finally settled into my home state I was frightned well beyond my core’s capacity to accept the toll it took. I know a lot of my competition-oriented friends have been REALLY put out that NRA ceased all tournaments until next year, that’s 2021. NRA take on it is that there needs to be a shot for it before we start shooting again.

And of course we saw some of the silliest, sadly now predictable, attempts to take advantage of the whole pandemic status and undermine gun rights. Good googly moogly. Even better was the radical (radical) increase in gun sales. My good friend Bill called me about a week in and asked me to go shopping with him for his first.

Next edition back on track with an actual reloading topic. I’ll have some to say about high-volume case prep!

Hang in there.

Finally: Please let me know more about what you’d like to see in these pages. Not only Reloaders Corner, but the whole publication.

Let’s get focused also on the “other” dangerous pandemic of misinformation. Not a whopping lot of time left to make some decisions on how some things are going to be decided on.

RELOADERS CORNER: House Arrest Handloading

It’s on and we’re in and it’s pretty clear what might be a good focus during these times. A few thoughts coming next HERE

Glen Zediker

Corona, Covid-19, is daggone serious. I’m beyond on board taking the precautions I can to protect myself and mine. It can and has killed people. I have to keep that firmly in mind because about the time “we,” or at least those more immediately in vicinity where I live, really started to get into lockdown, shutdown mode now seems like a good while distant. Covid-19 isn’t nearly over with. It’s not yet even hit its stride. I’m not at all saying that to alarm or concern, just to keep firmly in mind that it looks like we’ll be all beyond arm’s length for a good long while.

Some of us will have more or less time on our hands.

But! Since we are interested in shooting, it sho could be worlds worse. There are so many ways to continue to productively participate in elements of our world. And, honestly, that’s an understatement. Some genuinely valuable things can be done and learned following a shooting focus away from target time.

I read and receive a lot of messages from handloaders digging into put-off projects (usually involving case prep or segregation, stockpiling, and on down a long list of opportunities to “finally” get something done that had been pushed back).

You might think about reviewing some of the Reloaders Corner articles in the past with respect to prep and segregation means, and also those dealing with ideas on how to bring the loading machinery into a little more comfortable, closer proximity. And! Always follow all the same rules, especially about cleaning up a the end of a loading session. Don’t leave primers or propellant to sit open.

We could all come out of this with from a little to a lot improved handloading accomplishments. Okay. I am admittedly grasping at straws, folks, because I’d rather just get back to normal, but I can tell you that shooting-related interests are way (way) easier to maintain and improve, certainly compared to something like mountain biking when there’s a forced layoff.

The status of range time access gets different answers. I know that virtually every organized tournament, outdoor or indoor, has been cancelled or postponed. I also just today see some conflicting views on the essential or non-essential angle of shooting ranges.

Finally, it looks like Reloaders Corner and the MSS Blog might be more frequent over the next bit, so keep looking for new material in these pages.

Check out Glen’s newest book America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

RELOADERS CORNER: When You Can’t Always Get What You Want

And here’s hoping that, if you try sometimes, you get what you need. Sorry Mick. READ MORE

weigh brass

Glen Zediker

Yet one mo time: the topic for Reloaders Corner comes from recent letters on a topic, and this time it’s brass. Specifically, some were asking me about this and that such and such brands of brass that I’d had no direct experience with. The reason for the question was because my long-standing and well-known in-print recommendations had, for these folks, just not been possible to find. They were, by the way, looking for “good” brass, which can mean different things, but mostly new cases that were going to be consistent and had nothing that wouldn’t recommend them, if that made sense. If it didn’t, it means that the cases weren’t unusually hard or soft, or expensive, or, generally, exhibiting low or quirky quality.

These were competitive shooters, NRA High Power Rifle, by they way.

Anyone who’s read much from me on this topic knows I’m partial to American-made cases, WW in particular, and also (now) Nosler. Nosler isn’t cheap. You would also know that I am not a fan of European brands. I have used and continue to use a good deal of Lapua because I have a good deal of it, but it tends to be virtually perfect in dimension but soft in composition. And, gas gun or not, I do not like soft brass.

For this next to be as helpful as I’d hope it might be, the circumstance is this: We are going to try a few before we commit. We’re first going to buy a box before we get a case.

So after opening a container of new brass, how do you know “what you’ve got”? Have to find some way to measure it, then measure it, and start quantifying its quality or suitability. There are a few different checks myself and others make that provide numbers we can use to represent consistency. For the most part, and this will likely get the most support in agreement from others reading this now, case wall thickness consistency might well trump other checks that can be made. Of course (of course) there are tools that make this job — measuring wall thickness at 4 points around a case neck — easier and faster. Related but not exactly the same thing is running the new cases through a concentricity fixture (a “spinner”) that will show how much runout a case neck has. To make that truly reliably viable, though, all the cases much first be sized to round out the case neck cyclinder. That might not be such a chore, though, because in fact all those cases are going to need sized before they can be used. Otherwise, and this takes only a quick look to know, new case mouths are usually bent up and not nearly ready to accept a bullet.

There’s another way. Weigh them! Weigh them all. After a few tries and a few notes, you’ll get an idea of what represents the higher, lower weight range. Moving them into piles, a pattern, I guess we could call it, shows up. As with any segregation, the tolerance you’re setting determines on how many piles, but I suggest and try to keep it to three. Separation increments that are realistic and influential for case weight segregation varies on the physical size of the case and, of course, the tickiness of the operator. Again, though, if you weigh 100 cases and you have your numbers and your piles, you’ll start to see how both your criteria and your test pieces are relating. If your piles have cases that are under 1.0 grain difference each, meaning less than 3.0 grains total weight variance, that’s good! Really good. There are other surfaces (case rim for instance) where a little more or less material here and there contribute to the weight.

weigh cases
Weighing is going to be a little faster check especially when there’s a good number of cases in the mix. A good electronic scale makes it way on easier.

Weight is not (not nearly) an indicator of case wall thickness consistency. Well, or if it is, that’s sho not what the scale is directly showing you. It’s also not a direct indication of case volume, or of anything else for that matter! It is only showing a weight on each case. However! Over almost a half century messing with all this, I can tell you that — for some reason — it does without a doubt matter! It may only be some sort of clue to the “overall” quality of manufacture, I honestly don’t know.

I suggest it as an alternative to more “direct” means to gauge case quality just because everyone has a scale and initial weight readings are fairly fast and decidedly easy to take.

Now. Read just a little on this on the interweb and you’ll see weight segregation is most often discounted heavily as a viable criteria. As with much of what else you’ll read on the interweb it tends to be posted by folks who are long on opinion and short on resume. Right. They know it all but don’t actually go out and win anything.

weigh cases
Don’t confuse segregation means with segregration criteria. Case weight is not the same as wall thickness. Sorting by weight says you found the cases that weighted more nearly the same. They will, I assure you, shoot better than employing no segregation means.

One last, speaking of folks with impressive resumes, I know a good number of shooters on the U.S. Palma Team. These folks are all big into weight segregation. Since “real” Palma is fired with drawn ammo, the proven best way to find out which rounds in a box are going to shoot the closest together is simply to weigh all the loaded rounds and separate them by weight. That’s proven to do better than any other means for measure. It honestly does work for cases too.

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in Glen’s newest book America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

RELOADERS CORNER: Crimp

More “factory tricks” can be applied to handloads, if you feel a need. READ MORE

crimp
To get a sano crimp, the bullet has to have a crimping groove, or cannelure, for the case mouth to roll into, and the die itself has to be internally dimensioned to accommodate it.

Glen Zediker

A commonly used tactic in a factory round is a crimp to help hold the bullet in place before it’s launched, especially when there is a heavy bullet and heavy recoil. Inertia generated within the gun, in a big part, can make the bullet shift, usually outward (common in a magnum revolver). A crimp also helps guard against a bullet seating more deeply, as when there might some stubbing contact as the round is chambered.

For a true factory style roll crimp, the bullets must have a cannelure, or “crimping groove.” This is a ring cut into a portion of the bullet’s major diameter. The edge of the case mouth is turned or folded (“rolled”) into this groove to complete the crimp. The bullet seating die has to be tooled to provide this effect when it’s adjusted properly to engage the crimping groove. Not all seating dies can provide crimp.

If your die allows it, to get a crimp, adjust bullet seating depth to put the cannelure so it’s right on the end of the case mouth. Then adjust the die body downward to engage the crimping ledge so it will pinch the edge of the case mouth into the groove.

crimp
Here’s a good example of a good application of crimp. This 300 Blackout subsonic has a heavy bullet that otherwise can be prone to shift as a result of intertia induced forces at work during action cycling.

I don’t usually use a factory style roll crimp because I’ve never felt need for it, and also I convinced myself that it can’t be a good idea (ever) to squeeze in on a bullet, or not when best group size is the goal. Another reason is that I very rarely use a bullet that has a cannelure. However! I concede those times when it is a benefit. I crimp magnum handgun loads.

Also, if you crimp, it’s clear there are strict and unweilding limitations on bullet seating depth and also that all the cases have to be the same height for it to work properly, and that means at least a little additional tedium from efforts in case trimming.

crimp
Lee has a really good setup, in my experience and opinion, for those who want to closely duplicate factory treatment. It’s their “Factory Crimp” die.

An alternative to a roll crimp is a “taper crimp.” This is popular with practical-style pistol competitors and also with a couple of commercial .223 Rem. loaders I know. A taper crimp die does what it suggests or sounds like it does: it squeezes in some portion below the case mouth against the bullet using a gentle taper. Anyone who’s loaded straight-walled cases knows about “belling” the case mouth. Belling makes a little funnel-edge on the case mouth to allow easy entry for a bullet. That tiny trumpet-shaped area then needs to be ironed back flat so the round will chamber, and the seating die has a portion within it dimensioned and devoted to this chore. A taper crimp die works in the same, just more.

crimp
Here’s a taper crimp die. These give a progressive and relatively gentle squeeze down that adds a little more grip againt the case neck. It’s also an asset to feeding for a semi-auto.

And, as said, a taper crimp is a stand-alone die, which means it’s best used in a turret or progressive style press. Its use effectively increases the grip against the bullet. Some say it’s an asset to reliable feeding, and I can agree with that given straight-wall cases, but I don’t think it helps a bottleneck case in this regard. It will, however, keep the bullet better in place against outside forces seeking to change its location.

crimp
A healthy crimp is common also in hard kicking heavy bullet rounds like magnums. The idea here is to keep the other bullets in place in reaction to the firing forces trying to dislodge them.

Last, for now, is that there are also a good many who claim that crimping is an asset to improving round to round velocity consistency. Judge that, along of course with your chronograph, but I have yet to see it in rifle ammunition. Some pistol ammo, yes.

Check out Midsouth taper crimp dies HERE

Lee “Factory Crimp” HERE

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in from Glen’s newest book America’s Gun: The Practical AR15. Available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.

RELOADERS CORNER: Factory Tricks

A few factory “tricks” can be applied to handloads, if you feel a need. READ MORE

ammo storage
Handling precautions during round assembly and then good storage afterward extends the shelf life of reloads.

Glen Zediker

Last time we took a look at some of the differences between factory-loaded ammo and our own recipe handloads. That material wasn’t a total indictment on factory ammo as might have been expected coming from me and directed toward mine, and that’s because there are some times ready-made has its place.

One of the main-most good things that can be said about factory ammo is that it has a shelf life that, given decent storage conditions, will likely exceed that of handloads. Or not. “Not” depends on what steps or processes were applied to the handload.

Sealants
The main culprit in decreasing stored life of a loaded round results from corrosion. Some call it “sticktion,” and I’ve had it happen a few times. What it is, is the case neck and bullet corrode — stick — together. That will elevate pressure. I had a rash of blown primers from the batch I used.

There are a few ideas on how to reduce or eliminate stiction, and the first starts with eliminating the catalyst for the corrosion. Don’t touch the bullets with your bare fingers! Don’t touch the cases either. I know a few commercial loaders who produce precision ammunition and they’re all about surgical-style gloves.

I have run some tests using bullet sealant (applied as a liquid then UV-cured) and such a product will, indeed, virtually eliminate any worries over corrosion. Most factory, and virtually all mil-spec, ammo uses some formulation of sealant (bullets and primers). The reason I tried it, though, was because of the promise of greater accuracy. Glued bullets tend to produce from a little to a lot smaller velocity spreads. My jury is still out on the value of this additional step, and when there’s a verdict I’ll let you all know how it played out.

reloading sealant
Here’s a simple and easy sealant that works well. One bottle will last about 1000 rounds. Check it out at Midsouth HERE.

There are a few different bullet and primer sealers available. For the most part, these are fairly easy to apply and none are what I’d call expensive.

Giving loaded rounds a good cleaning, and then storing them at the least in air-resistant boxes, keeps the shine on and the corrosion away for a good long while.

Some run their loaded rounds in a routine-type case cleaner, like a vibratory tumbler. That’s all good, but I suggest not using anything but “pure” media to ensure that no residues are left behind.

I use denatured alcohol and a bath towel: place the rounds on half the towel, pour on the alcohol, fold over the towel and roll the rounds around. Let them dry and box them up.

Handling precautions during round assembly and then good storage afterward extends the shelf life of reloads.

More about another factory trick — crimping — next time.

The preceding is a adapted from information contained in from Glen’s books Top-Grade Ammo and Handloading For Competition. Available HERE at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Visit ZedikerPublishing.com for more information on the book itself, and also free article downloads.